According to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 40 million Americans have been diagnosed with asthma.
Allergy and asthma symptoms can range from mild to severe and are usually triggered by exposure to allergens. Believe it or not, most of these allergens are found right in your own home. A survey from the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found at least six allergens were detectable in about 50 percent of homes. Allergens, such as dust mites, pet dander, mold, and cockroach droppings, can be carried in the air and found on furniture, floors, and other surfaces around the home.
Removing allergy triggers from your home can reduce allergy and asthma symptoms. Cleaning your home with natural cleaning products routinely can help reduce the exposure of allergens in your home.
Because dust mites thrive in dust, getting rid of dust will help reduce indoor allergens. When cleaning, wear a dust mask. Be sure to clean with a microfiber cloth which collects dust instead of scattering it.
Vacuuming also helps reduce allergens. Pollen, dust mite, and cockroach droppings are heavier than pet dander so they are more likely to settle on furniture and other surfaces. Using a HEPA filter vacuum will trap small particles and prevent them from spreading into the air. Using HEPA filters in your air conditioner can also reduce allergens.
For the pet owners out there, keep your pet off the furniture and out of the bedroom as much as you can to lessen pet dander. Vacuum regularly and wash your pet weekly if possible.
Molds and mildew love damp areas like basements and bathrooms. Mold spores are allergens found in the air. Clean mold with a vinegar/water/hydrogen peroxide mixture. Use dehumidifier if needed to keep the humidity around 40 percent.
Dust mites live in bedding, pillows, and rugs, so be sure to wash your blankets, sheets, and pillowcases in hot water (around 130 degrees) once a week and dry them in a hot dryer to kill the dust mites. Use allergy-proof casing for your mattresses and pillows.
To prevent pollen from entering your home, keep windows and doors closed as much as possible. Avoid going outdoors when the pollen count is high, and in the early morning hours (between 5 am and 10 am). Taking a shower and changing your clothes when coming in from outside also helps get rid of any pollen you might have picked up while outdoors. Do not hang laundry out on the clothesline to dry since pollen can collect on them.
Many toxic household cleaners can trigger symptoms in those who have asthma or allergies. Consider making your own cleaning products using ingredients like vinegar, lemons, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide.